The year after our first grandchild was born, we planted a maple tree in her honour. A few years later when our second grandchild was born, we did the same.
We continued to do this. After each birth, another tree was planted. We planted the trees in a straight row, on the slope of an old farm field where the growing conditions were right — plenty of sunshine and soil that wasn’t too wet or too dry. When the fifth grandchild was born, there wasn’t enough room in the row, so we started a second one. When that row filled up, we started a third, and then a fourth.
All of a sudden — or so it seemed — we had ten grandchildren and ten maple trees, planted in a triangle like the pins in a bowling alley.
By last summer, the trees were big enough to have an impact. But the long grass in the field hid the triangular shape.
In order to emphasize the shape and to draw attention to the trees themselves, we started to mow around them.
Mowing helped make the shape clear, but it didn’t help enough. We sprayed a white line on the grass.
That helped a bit more, but the spray paint didn’t last very long.
Recently I returned to the problem, searching for a solution that would showcase the trees but wouldn’t require too much maintenance.
I think I’ve found it.
A steel bar mounted on steel legs now marks each corner of the triangle with a sleek silver line. Next summer we may spray paint the legs that hold the bars above the grass silver as well, or we may leave them to gather even more rust.
The spray paint didn’t end the necessary tweaking. Because almost three years ago, grandchild #11 appeared on the scene. Where could we put her tree? The triangle was complete.
If her tree wasn’t part of the pattern, did it have to be a maple? Her mother suggested we choose a tree that bore fruit — appropriate for a little girl, she said. Until a few weeks ago, this youngest tree stood in the same field, not far from the other grandchildren trees but not part of the group either. Her cousins didn’t like that. They said she was being left out.
What could I do but listen?
Now the youngest (the final?) grandchild’s tree is in place. It stands opposite the tip of the triangle, elevated on a berm like a conductor leading an orchestra.
And to make sure the others know who is in charge, we planted a crabapple!